Category Archives: Grief

Nine photos of Chad that instil happiness

It’s that week again.  Just when I think I might not be as teary as last year, my heart squeezes a little tighter, a solid lump lands in my throat and tears push their way out  my eyes.

Sometimes it happens when I don’t even feel sad, but something inside of me knows the timing.

As I couldn’t get a sentence out after our Monday morning run, Karyn reminded me “Well, for the past six years this week is always been a hard one. It’s just tough.” She’s right.

It is tough. But since sadness hits me whenever it feels like it, I’m not going to wait up for it.  Instead, I’ve spent tonight looking through photos of Chad with his friends, photos of us, and remembering how funny, goofy and happy he was.

November 28th doesn’t pass without thinking of Chad – but then again, neither does any other day.

Here are nine photos that capture moments and friendships that have such strong memories attached to them, they take me back and I can laugh at it all again.

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After a half an hour of party plotting, Chad was scooped and tossed in to the North Shore Winter Club pool. My job was to get his cell phone before he went in…but I forgot.

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Chad and my brother at a Keith Urban concert. (I don’t know why we went, but we did.)
His loud “eeeewwwwiiieee!” cowboy noises can be heard through this photo.

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Our first (and only) camping trip. We stayed in his jeep.
The tent belonged to our friends. 

(Can you hear his hisss?)

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Laura, Chad & Matt as the leads in our Saturday night Rock Band group. 
“Wanted, Dead or Alive” was a fan Chad favourite.
Chad wore his grandfather’s fedora every. time.

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Before I went back to college, Chad and I showed up to my send-off party separately, dressed like leprechauns.  
Him, with questionable facial hair decisions.
Me, with bad hair decisions. No questions.

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On a road trip I shot a snap pea at Chads head. It landed in his ear and stuck.
It took a few minutes to be able to talk again. 

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I’d never seen a group of adults laugh so hard than when Chad and his tennis friends had a Christmas party.
I was late and walked in to a decibel of laughter I hadn’t heard before.
When I see this picture, I still can hear it.

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The affection he shared with his friends.

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And lastly, if you’ve ever watched Charles Barkley’s golf tee-off, it’s most comparable to watching Chad Warren putt.

chadgolf

(Stealthy taken by Matt on his blackberry)

 

You’re happiness here with us, made me happy tonight Chaddy.

I’ll talk to you soon. xo

The day I met Brenda Lee Free.

I wrote this blog a year ago – and for a bunch of “I got busy” reasons, I never published it. But today,  I’ve come back to it, thinking about a last year and the moment I met Brenda Lee Free.

I don’t remember how I found her on Twitter, but @BrendaLeeFree was tweeting about the book she was about to release – near the time Our Interrupted Fairy Tale was scheduled to be launched.

A few friendly, yet distant exchanges, I clicked over to her webpage. I learned a little more about her book – and a little more about her love story.  Ebb From The Shoreline was a story about her and her husband Kevin – their courtship and the weeks leading up to Kevin’s passing. Another young, super studly Canadian guy, succumbing to one of the rarest cancers in the world.

I have been following Brenda’s book/life journey for over a year – last fall, while doing a signing in hot and sunny Toronto, Brenda Lee walked into Chapters.

While she photographs well, she is prettier in real life – and I recognized her the moment she walked up to my table. I’ve never really met anyone online that I felt connected to so quickly. A big hug, less than 30 seconds of small talk and we got right down to it.

Megan Williams & Brenda Lee Free, author of Ebb from the Shoreline

We spent the first ten minutes talking about our books, how they are doing and any tips we can offer the other. The remaining 20 minutes were spent going back and forth with blunt, honest, and genuine questioning as if we had been friends for the past four years.

How hard has it been writing about your person?

What does your new husband/boyfriend think about it?

What do your inlaws think of the book?

How did you get over the “hump” of feeling like you’re marketing a story that is about your life?

Do you still dream of him?

For someone I’d never met, from somewhere I’ve never heard of Pennsylvania, we seem to live somewhat parallel lives – and I could have talked to BLF for the whole day.

Before we parted ways, I offered to send her home with a book. Her cat shaped, blue eyes looked at me with the same semi-apologetic expression I would have given her if she would have asked me the same question, “No thanks. I’m not going to read it.”

I knew exactly what she meant and took no offense. No matter how similar our paths have been, how similar our hurt and loss has felt – neither of us were interested in reading about it. We get it – and neither of us care to take on another love and love-lost story.

I think that was the best part for me. Knowing that there is someone out there, someone I might never see again (but hope to), who knows what it  felt like, and what it feels like now.

And with that little piece of freeing knowledge, I feel a little recharged, feel a little less guilty, and I’m so thankful that this little book has lead me to something as great as meeting Brenda Lee.

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Today marks the seventh year since Kevin’s passing. And BLF – I don’t know how you’ll spend today nor do I know exactly how you’re feeling, but I want you to know that there is another girl, a timezone and country away that gets how sad, weird and warped a day like today feels. xo

 

Questions from the 8 year old in my back seat.

Megan Williams - Prairie Studios Photography

When it happened, I didn’t really feel the heavy, yet uplifting significance of what she  said. But now as I sit down and write, my heart feels it – big time.

This weekend, Brad’s daughter, Madison and I were driving home after a hot afternoon on my Mom’s deck. Madi  finished reading me a book about fruit from the back seat (did you know the kernel of a peach pit is poisonous?) and asked to turn on some music.

I turned up whatever pop-club-mix was on the radio, loudly, and the chorus to Sweedish House Mafia’s song “Don’t you worry child” blasted through my car.

“Don’t you worry, don’t you worry child
See heaven’s got a plan for you
Don’t you worry, don’t you worry now”

The song continued and I hear her little voice ask from the back seat, “Megan, do you call Chad your ex-boyfriend?”

She and I have had a few good chats about Chad over the past year,  so I’m no longer totally caught off guard when she asks about him, or us.

“Good question! No. I don’t call him my ex-boyfriend. I either say that he’s my ‘late-boyfriend’ or my boyfriend who passed away.”

After I explained the usage of “late” she offered, “Yea, I’d use the first one. The “late” one…”

“Yea, I prefer that one too. Why do you ask Bunny?”

“Well, when this song came on I was wondering if Chad had a friend who was a singer and wrote a song for you and him. You know, that part about Heaven having a plan for you.”

Gulp.

“Oh I see! While he doesn’t have a friend who sang this song,  that’s a really nice idea!”

“Can you turn the music back up please?”

And that was the end of it.

My life with Madi, Brad, Chad and our families – the lines are all blended and blurred. There isn’t a place or time that I can define when the hurt, happiness and heartache has stopped or started.

But in a my quick conversation with the sweet 8 year old girl in my back seat, I’m reminded that all the blending and blurring is because of love.

Megan Williams + Pairie Studios Photography

5 to 7 – and the mic-drop monologue.

There are so many movies with great lines – some, after the moment I’ve heard it, I’ll comment “Godthatsagoodline” in one breath. Others I’ll need Brad or Adrienne (who I’ve watch majority of movies with) to remind me of “that great line she said right after they did that thing?”

But the end monologue of 5 to 7  caught me in such amood, tears welled in my eyes, and now has me pausing and repausing so I hear it all again.

I won’t bothering with movie context or summary points, nor will I explain the pieces that have got me all quivery lipped – this one speaks for itself.

I have a long time to consider the value of memory and the idea that just because something doesn’t last forever, doesn’t mean its worth is diminished. Maybe it was just a rationalization, easier on the soul than mourning what might have been a life unlived. I honestly don’t know.

But I chose to believe in memory. I chose to believe in her. I chose to believe that the bond was never broken and that we carry each other in our hearts as a security singularity. She made me a writer. She made me a man.

There may be other loves. Even great loves but she was right – only one remained perfect. And as a result, it never quite left me alone. I wondered if it remained perfect for her as well or if I was just holding on to an idea…some questions have to go unanswered.

I don’t know if I’ll ever see her again, and I don’t know if that’s a good thing or a bad one. But I will promise you this – your favourite story, whatever it might be – it was written, for one reader.

Thank you Mark and Coleen for suggesting this movie. I knocked out 1,000 words of Book #2 in 45 minutes immedietly after it finished.

5 to 7 (Photo from LA Weekly)

 

 

Maybe it’s my Matrix?

I do most of my crying in the car. Sometimes the shower, but mostly the car.

I got really good at it when Bryn had his transplant, when Chad was in the hospital and when he left. I assume it’s because I’m alone and even though I’ve got zero tint on my windows, I feel like I can do it without anyone watching. I prefer it that way.

I haven’t cried much lately. Maybe a tear or two at a wedding and maybe a watery eye during the Taylor Swift concert (don’t ever mention this to my face). BUT – every once in an unexpected while I get all teary with a feeling of Chad.

It creeps up on me without prompting – somehow making me feel as if he’s weighing in on something I’ve been up to, or just checking in. I feel his blunt opinions and kind support. Maybe it’s best described as a feeling from Chad.

When this happens, I get a surge of warmth and tightness from my gut, up to my chest, into my throat, and out through my eyes….tears. I miss you. Please stay.

But this is where the (I’m) crazy part has come in.

The other day, I was taking my usual route home, finishing a happy day, going to my happy home. Driving through the Stanley Park Causeway, and I felt him. Then came the warm surge then…tears. Please stay.

The feeling isn’t unusual, but what I’ve just noticed is.

Last time I had this feeling was in the same section of causeway. Actually, there have been DOZENS of  times the past five years that this surge, of grief, love and tears have surfaced in the same 400 metres of road.

Stanley Park Causeway (Photo credit: The Province)

I whispered out loud, “What the..f..”

If I was drunk with these feelings, thinking about this made me sober.

I know this sounds crazy. And I’m not deep enough to wrap my head around Inception, Wrinkle in Time, Matrix-ish theories, but seriously – am I going through a Chad tunnel or something?

I love it when it happens, but why there, why not when I’m sitting at my desk or running by our old apartment? Why those 400 metres? I like it, but I don’t get it. Maybe it’s my matrix…

Has anyone else felt like this before or had something similar happen?

Good grief.

x M

 

 

 

 

 

PS. If you’re a Psychiatrist, how am I doing on the cray cray scale?